Here are a list of questions you can ask prospective DJs which will give you some insight into just how professional they really are. They are not the ‘normal’ questions you have heard about, but they really need to be asked:
Instead of just asking how long they have been in business, ask them how many weddings YOUR DJ has performed. Then do they math, if they tell you they have been in business for 5 years and have done 500 weddings, that would be 2 per week, each and EVERY week for the past 5 years. Or maybe they have been in business 5 years and only done 120 weddings (more likely) that would be 2 per month. A good professional DJ should have at least 100-300 weddings worth of experience to do a top notch job, but rarely do they perform more than 6 per month unless they are multi-system operators.
Ask them about their safety features. A true professional is certified in CPR, carries flashlights in case of power outages, a fire extinguisher in case of fires and examines all the emergency exits before your guests arrive. It’s up to them to help direct people and keep a calming effect in case of emergencies.
Ask how many people will be working your event and whether or not they will all stay for the entire time. A real professional will send TWO people out because he knows that to properly perform at a wedding or corporate event will take a second person to coordinate events with the other vendors, move the equipment in and out in a timely fashion and to make sure that someone is always at the music console at all times.
Ask them “How big is your advertising banner or sign?” This is a trick question, because a true professional wouldn’t use any for a wedding. They are their to advertise YOU, not themselves. Also ask if they use ‘tip’ jars. They shouldn’t! It’s tacky!
Ask them “How old are your speakers?” and “What brand are they?” - A true professional will not keep speakers older than 5 years. Some will try to ‘sell’ you on the idea their ‘older’ speakers are better quality, but remember they get lots of use and abuse being trucked around for 5 years. Good brands are JBL, EV (ElectroVoice), Mackie and Cerwin Vega. Anything less means they are worried about saving money over sound quality and reliability.
Ask them if they have a website or use email. A professional will keep up-to-date with his advertising and communications methods, he doesn’t mind spending the extra money for this because it is a natural business expense. But look carefully, is the address he gives you his own, or one from Yahoo, Hotmail or one of the other ‘freebies’? If it is, take that into consideration also. It may only mean he is not up to date though.
Ask what his business hours are. Like any other business he should have standard days and hours that he is available. Be careful with ones who say “Call me anytime” or “evenings only” This is not professional, businesses need to have specific hours, even if they also tell you “but you can call later if you want”.